Ranni: Soil erosion is a major threat and it intensifies during floods. Flooding also denudes forest cover as trees growing on banks of rivers are uprooted.
With each copious rainfall, an overflowing stream is gobbling up a patch of forest in the middle of Ranni town in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district which was the worst hit in last year's floods in the state.
And as the land gives way, the teak trees on the 90-cent forest land, which comes under the Kerala Forest Department, is swept away by the surging waters. The small forest, locally known as ‘Kuttyvanam’, is under threat. It is situated between Mamuk Kavala and Valiyapalam.
For many years this forest, along with the forest land in Pulimukku, doubled up as timber depots when timber and bamboo were brought through the Pampa River. Later, the forest land was used for various farming purposes and now, teak trees grow on the land.
Teak trees are uprooted when the water level of the stream adjoining the forest increases and water erosion eats into the forest land. The stream has gobbled up 20 cents of forest and the remaining forest cover is depleting at a fast rate with each flood.
The land cannot be protected without building embankments, which comes at a huge cost, along the stream.
The District Development Committee has directed the Department of Water Resources to protect the banks. But unfortunately no steps have been taken on that front. It seems that the government has turned a blind eye to the destruction of the forest land, which is worth crores.